Game Review: "Game of Thrones Episode 2: The Lost Lords"

This review contains spoilers for episode 1, but none for episode 2, except for the blacked-out lines where I describe the choices I made.

I didn't actually review episode 1 of Telltale Games' new series based on Game of Thrones, but I'll start with 2, and go as the episodes are released. In short, I loved episode 1 in great part thanks to its shocking conclusion, and how uncomfortable it made me during some of the important choice scenes. The scene when Cersei is ruthlessly interrogating Mira in front of Margaery was particularly difficult to handle, and that's precisely the reason why I love these games. Now let's talk about 2.

Holy crap, guys. How are you doing after witnessing Ethan Forrester's brutal death at the hands of Ramsay Snow? Did we meet during the support groups? That had to be one of the biggest one-two punches a videogame has ever given me. I blame myself for not seeing it coming, though; by now I feel like we should expect that stuff to happen all the time.

And we do, and that is what made episode 2 so thrilling (even if it didn't always deliver).

Right off the bat there is a major twist involving the fate of a character we thought was dead, which at first felt like a cheat but almost immediately I understood the writer's ideas. They are treating this story not like the TV show, but more like the books, where we follow specific characters' POVs. We have our leads, and we will only see the story told through their perspective, and never through any one random character. It's an interesting choice, but Martin has proven it works well. After Ethan's death, the Ironrath plotline (which is central to the overall story) has a new set of eyes, and it works remarkably well.

The writers are doing a phenomenal job at endearing the Forresters as Starks Mk. II (which to be fair is exactly what they are), because I'm yet to meet someone who didn't finish episode 1 without being completely behind this ill-fated family. Something I'm beginning to notice here, and I'm not going to call it a problem yet, is that they do so by pitting them against Literally Hitlers. Jesus, why is everyone such a giant fucking douche to the Forresters? The Game of Thrones show does a better job at creating antagonists without resorting to such obvious "evil".

Politics is a central thread in this plotline, and it is written beautifully well and frankly the biggest (if not only) source of tension in this episode. The scenes in Ironrath and King's Landing keep the great feeling of fragility that makes every choice so hard to take, even if we all know it's gonna go roughly to the same place in the end. Mira didn't get to face such complex decisions this time around (even if it looked like she would for a moment), but in King's Landing there's still that great feeling of impending doom, of danger in every corner. Ironrath has the truly fragile scene this time around, and it results in something that, at least now, seems like a pretty significant turn in the story. I hope the delicate verbal maneuvering required to ensure a certain asset for the House does play an important role later.

On the other hand, I was left scratching my head with every scene in the Wall, where we follow Duncan Tuttle, who was forced to take the black after killing a few asswipe Boltons. I've been thinking for a while and I just cannot imagine what is going on with this story. Every scene in the Wall was boring at best, and feel like filler. It's great to see Jon Snow, and the setting of the Wall is phenomenal (seriously the "level design" of these games is gorgeous) but I can't stop feeling like Duncan's plot isn't going anywhere. I can't imagine how he will have any impact on the main story. I hope I'm missing something, or that the writers have something hidden under their sleeve.

Another slight disappointment was Asher. Episode 1 painted Asher as this angry, badass motherfucker. After meeting him I'm beginning to think there might have been some rewrites because he isn't any different to any of the main characters. He's just as sunny and fun. Sure, we get to see him cause some carnage but it's only in the name of survival (he even gets surprised when an innocent is killed in front of him). What gives? I was looking forward to Asher being a black sheep in an otherwise noble and honest family and he's just another good guy. Shame.

Asher does come bundled with a new character: Toshka, a badass female sellsword. At first she seemed like the regular character everyone would cast Michelle Rodriguez to play but for the life of me I cannot think of anyone like her in the A Song of Ice and Fire universe. There's still nothing special about her (though there's promise for episode three), but it's good to see a girl kick some ass in this series.

Seeing Asher's story only take two minor steps in this episode worries me. Suddenly it feels like he's going to take ages to get home (if he ever does), so that's another story that feels disconnected and irrelevant. At least this one's headed somewhere, unlike Duncan's.

Though the game doesn't wrap with a big shocker like most Telltale episodes do, we are treated to a pretty epic montage played over a pretty cool song. The lyrics of the song are awful, but I'm convinced they're supposed to be, as they are supposed to be written by a little girl. No matter, because the scene left me pretty pumped for the next episode. Hopefully it won't take another couple of months to get here.

It might have been my PC but the framerate seemed to drop sometimes, most significantly during the opening song. There was also a bizarre lag in the mouse that made some of the action scenes a fucking nightmare, but that might have again been my hardware, or settings. The art style is beautiful, employing a 'brush' style that makes everything, most of all the backgrounds, look as though painted by hand. Not bad at all. I also appreciate the continuous use of the show's actors giving voice to the characters. It would bother me to hear Tyrion or Jon with different voices. All the "original" characters also have excellent voice acting, as expected.

Overall, though it wasn't as hard-hitting as the premiere episode, and it shows some worrisome signs, The Lost Lords is a great followup that sets up the story really well, creating new conflicts and new sources of tension.

My Choices:

  • I didn't forge Margaery's letter. That would've been a stupid choice.
  • I didn't kiss Whitehill's ring. I'll make that fucker pay soon enough.
  • I won Elaena's hand in marriage (and the presence of Gwyn Whitehill at the end worried me).
  • I stood up for Cotter. I hate bullies, but I'm beginning to regret it; that dude is also an ass.
  • I killed Damien and saved the flea bucket. Poor kid didn't deserve to be drowned.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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